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May 12, 2022, Children and Young People Now: SURGE IN NUMBER OF CHILDREN WITH EHCPS

The total number of children with education, health and care plans (EHCPs) has increased by more than 40,000 over the last year, latest figures from the Department for Education show.

As of January 2022, there were 473,255 children with plans in place, compared with 430,697 the previous year, marking a 9.9 per cent increase.

The number of children subject to EHCPs and statements, which predated the plans, has increased each year since 2010 and the latest figures indicate further dramatic rises are likely, as demand among parents for assessments is increasing.

The figures show that requests for an assessment for a plan have rocketed by almost a quarter from 75,951 in 2020 to 93,302 in 2021. This is the highest figure since the data was first collected in 2016.

Of those that requested a plan last year, 20,800 of parent and carers were refused. This is a small increase on 2020’s figures, when 21.6 per cent were refused but fewer than in 2016 when more than a quarter were turned down.

Through EHCPs parents can become more involved in commissioning support through optional personal budgets.

But the latest figures show that the proportion of families using this option has only increased slightly over the last two years, up from 5.2 per cent in 2019 and 2020 to 5.3 per cent in 2021.

The National Education Union is concerned that the figures also show that the 20-week target for issuing plans is being missed in 40 per cent of cases.

“The latest release of pupils with high level special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) shows that the government do not have a plan to support children and young people with high level special educational needs and disabilities," said NEU joint general secretary Kevin Courtney.

The latest EHCP figures have been released amid calls to boost investment in early help for SEND children.

In a report published this week on the importance of early help, children’s charity Cerebra wants to to see national standards proposals in the government’s SEND review to lead to specific standards for early intervention….


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